My 10 Favorite Supplements for Cognitive Enhancement, Health, Longevity, and Endurance
We live in the first stage of the brain and body enhancement era. The ones who notice this will utilize supplements and enjoy an edge over others in most facets of their life.
By first stage I mean that in the near future we will discover even more advanced ways to enhance ourselves. Nanotechnology and other relevant sciences will play a tremendous role in this and we will be able to transform our body and mind in unprecedented ways.
At this point in time, accessibility of information and cross-checking of the effectiveness of different supplements has resulted in a booming supplement industry.
While one needs to be cautious regarding the effectiveness and possible side effects of different substances, free market rules will unquestionably help the industry improve and self-regulate in order to satisfy the demanding nature of the consumer.
This article is a small compendium of the supplements for cognitive enhancement, health, longevity, and endurance I use at the moment and aims to shed light on the fundamentals of each one.
I did that not just to inform you, but also for me to finally instigate the required research in order to better understand what I fuel my body with.
I am a big fan of a method called the Feynman technique 1 where you know you understand a topic when you can explain it like you would do to a 5-year old. You can get an idea of how it works below:
This method has served me well over the years and it also helped me in that instance become more familiar with terms that sound alien when uttered by physicians or nutritionists.
Supplements for Cognitive Enhancement
Benefits: Concentration, Cognitive performance
I came across Optimind almost a year ago when I decided to write an article about how to improve your concentration. Nootropics are the most popular cognitive enhancers and that’s because they consist of substances that have proven benefits on mental function. These claims are backed by years of neuroscience research in the field 2 and have resulted in the flourishing of a fast growing nootropics industry.
In essence, what a nootropic does is that it targets and increases the efficiency of different systems within the brain. You can think of it as a blend of natural and synthetic chemical elements like Vitamin D-3, Caffeine, Taurin and others that when consumed together can significantly impact your cognitive performance.
Simply put, when you consume a nootropic you kind of accelerate the process required to reach flow. Think of it as a booster that can help your brain focus easier and overcome the inertia associated with the first minutes of tackling a difficult task.
I have personally consumed Optimind regularly over the last year and it has proven extremely helpful especially in days when I didn’t get enough sleep or I was faced with inevitable multitasking.
Order a free sample here.
Category: Food Supplement
Benefits: Longevity, skin, heart, immune system
Before I explain the benefits of fish oil I want to mention an interesting detail. Do you know why fish oil became such a popular supplement in the US? It is because at some point Americans discovered a city in Japan called Okinawa, where the life expectancy is among the highest in the world.
The people of Okinawa consume a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, fish and sweet potatoes. This allows them to provide their body with the necessary antioxidants 3 and Omega-3 fats that have an impact on one’s longevity and overall health.
Most antioxidants come from the vegetables and the sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber and beta-carotene 4 and the Omega-3 fats are found mainly in the wild caught fish.
Supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to help support you in: Hearth health, blood sugar, focus, memory, healthy skin, and boost the immune system.
The problem is that in the US and in Europe it is difficult to find wild caught fish for a reasonable price. Most of the fish that can be found in conventional stores are frozen and farm-raised. Therefore, consumption of fish oil supplements is the most efficient way to provide the body with the essential Omega-3 fats.
Buy fish oil here.
Benefits: Concentration, Smooth alertness
I was introduced to this product by Tim Ferriss who repeatedly promoted it in his podcast. So, I did my own research and discovered that, apparently, mushrooms are among the world’s most studied superfoods.
Just to be clear, we are not talking about psychedelic or culinary mushrooms. The mushrooms in discussion are medicinal mushrooms that grow on or near trees and are famous for their healing properties.
Image © www.nootropicsdepot.com
Medicinal mushrooms come in various forms and names. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Lion’s mane
- Turkey tail
They are all packed with compounds that help modulate the immune system and protect against cancer cells as well as viral and bacterial infections. There is also a famous TED talk titled “6 ways mushrooms can save the world” that discusses their benefits.
Those benefits were spotted by a group of guys in the UK that created a company called Four Sigmatic and managed to produce the first mushroom coffee mix.
Mushroom coffee is essentially a blend of Arabica coffee, Changa, and Cordyceps Mushrooms. Changa helps battle the acidity of the coffee, thus giving the blend a smoother taste, and Cordyceps offers a more balanced energy boost when combined with caffeine.
After testing it I can argue that this mix is quite powerful and it definitely offers a smoother and longer alertness compared to regular coffee.
Buy Mushroom Coffee here.
Benefits: Energy, Smooth alertness
Bulletproof coffee has been in the news for quite some time now. It was introduced by David Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, as the upgraded version of regular morning coffee.
The idea for the recipe was inspired after he spent some time in Tibet where he tried a creamy cup of yak butter tea – a beverage offered in guest houses there as a remedy for the freezing cold weather.
According to Aspery, this experience transformed the way he viewed beverages and he started experimenting with different combinations of coffee, butter and other ingredients rich in healthy fats like coconut oil.
Eventually, he concluded to the recipe of the Bulletproof coffee, which is as follows:
- 1 cup of Bulletproof coffee (supposedly this is better than regular coffee because it is produced by high-quality beans, low in toxins).
- 1-2 tablespoons of grass fed butter.
- 1-2 tablespoons Brain Octain Oil (Brain Octane oil is high-quality coconut oil, processed in a way that metabolizes more efficiently into ketone energy, 5 giving you smoother and longer alertness)
You mix it all in a blender until it is frothy like a foamy latte.
Image © www.wellandgood.com
From my experience, bulletproof coffee is a great beverage especially if you are into intermittent fasting. It works better than mushroom coffee on an empty stomach and it gives a nice smooth boost so you can extend the fasting period for a few more hours. Even if you don’t fast, bulletproof coffee will definitely impact your alertness better than coffee after a big breakfast.
The only caveat here is that Bulletproof coffee has received some criticism from nutritionists suggesting that it might lead to excess consumption of saturated fats and also elevated cholesterol.
You need to be aware of that especially if you choose a diet rich in fats. I like to keep it in moderation and use this blend 3-4 times per week.
You can find my detailed consumption plan at the end of the article.
Biotin – Zinc – L-Tyrosin
Category: Food Supplements
Benefits: Hair health,
I recently turned 30 and I realized that the first gray hairs started to pop up. I don’t really have a problem with that since with the right hairstyle it can look quite attractive, but I am a preacher of moderation in most facets of our lives (including moderation) so I want to make sure that I have the situation under control.
Hair health is quite a debatable topic and although you will find a lot of abstract information out there, most of it is quite untrustworthy. Over time, I have realized that the best information comes from word of mouth and from people who have experimented with many remedies. That’s why when I look for information I visit online forums and evaluate the most non-biased and straightforward responses.
So, if you spend enough time trying to ignore ambiguous and overly generalized articles on Greatist, Livestrong, and Wikihow, you will find most people, including doctors, suggesting that the best supplements for healthy hair are: Biotin, Zinc, and L-Tyrosin.
Biotin is a crucial component to skin cells. Healthy skin cells play a major role in the health of hair follicles as well. Weak or unhealthy hair follicles result in the inability to retain hair, which leads to hair loss.
Your body needs Zinc to produce an enzyme called tyrosinase that converts the amino acid tyrosine into melanin. Premature graying of hair could be a sign of zinc deficiency.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid involved in melanin synthesis. Regular intake of L-tyrosine supplement can help in increasing melanin production.
Ubiquinol (or CoQ10)
Category: Food supplement
Benefits: Endurance, longevity
This supplement was also suggested by Tim Ferriss. It helps with sustaining natural energy levels and it slows down the effects of aging. If you are in your 30s and older you should definitely consider adding that to your diet.
Ubiquinol is a nutrient that works as a powerful antioxidant in the body. It is synthesized within the body naturally and used for important functions such as supplying cells with energy, transporting electrons, and regulating blood pressure levels. The following video explains Ubiquinol in 2 mins:
Aging, poor diet, stress and toxicity significantly decrease your body’s ability to produce Ubiquinol, thus supplementing becomes necessary as you age.
Buy Ubiquinol here.
Category: Food supplement
Benefits: Concentration, Ketosis
Let’s start with a simple definition. What are ketones?
Ketones are molecules produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food and carb intake for energy.
In simple words, when you fast or when you don’t consume carbs, instead of glucose the body gets the necessary energy from ketones that are produced by burning fat (both consumed and stored).
The ketogenic diet, which has been the most recent hype, is a diet rich in healthy fats, proteins and low in carbs. A typical one would look like this:
Image © www.sukrin.co.uk
When your body produces ketones you are in a so-called ketogenic state, which according to research utilizes oxygen more efficiently in the generation of energy.
Image © www.dtc.ucsf.edu
While in a ketogenic state, many people have noticed increased cognitive performance and the ability to focus better, but in order to reap the benefits of that state, you need to be fasting for a long period of time or be in a very strict ketogenic diet.
However, following a strict ketogenic diet can be quite a burden and sometimes very costly. Therefore, a company called Ketosports managed to create supplements that can help people increase the ketones in their body exogenously. 6
Exogenous Ketones can increase flexibility in what you can eat and they can also help you get back into Ketosis faster than nutritional Ketosis.
Some people like Tim Ferriss go so far as to measure the level of Ketones in their blood so they can ensure an established ketogenic state.
If you want to work on an extremely challenging project for hours in deep work mode, an ensured ketogenic state is the way to go.
Category: Food supplement
Benefits: Reduced cholesterol and uric-acid levels
Because in the past I wanted to stay away from workout supplements I focused on consuming a lot of animal protein to ensure the right protein intake. I consumed around 5 eggs, 500g of meat and lots of fats every day.
Unfortunately ingesting a lot of animal protein can have an impact on your cholesterol and uric-acid levels.
I recently did a blood test and I found out that I have a high amount of uric-acid in my blood. That’s nothing to worry about, but if I don’t regulate it I flirt with the chance of developing arthritis in the future.
Image © www.herbs-info.com
Because of this small issue, I decided to experiment with organic plant-based protein. Plant based protein usually contains brown rice protein, chia seeds, hemp protein and pea protein. Also, I try to focus on ones sweetened with stevia, thus reducing the amount of daily sugar consumption.
Buy Vegan Protein here.
Benefits: Endurance, longevity, antioxidants, focus
I already suggested two regular coffee alternatives, but because of their intensity, I wouldn’t recommend using them every day.
Tea on the other side is the only coffee alternative that has health benefits without restrictions in consumption – especially matcha.
Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. The health benefits of matcha exceed those of other green teas because matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Apart from the fact that it is an antioxidant powerhouse, matcha helps with your focus, stress levels, and mental fatigue.
Buy Matcha here.
Category: Food supplement
Benefits: Longevity, health, skin, reduced wrinkles
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. It’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It gives our skin strength and elasticity and helps replace dead skin cells.
Many people have been advocating the intake of bone broth as a great source of collagen. That’s because collagen is mainly found in the bones and when the bone cooks, collagen breaks down into gelatin. 7
Unfortunately, collagen production reduces as you age and this reduction is responsible for wrinkles, bad skin, and joint problems.
Proper collagen supplementation becomes essential with time in order to make up for the deficiency that occurs due to aging.
Buy Collagen here.
How I use the supplements
Proper supplementation is as important as the substance itself. Making sure to get the dosage right and not overwhelming your body is what makes all the difference.
Make sure to check the instructions suggested by the brand of your choice and don’t exceed the required daily amount.
Below is a sample intake plan I use for the suggested supplements.
|Optimind||2 capsules before deep work mode.|
|Fish oil||2 capsules daily after breakfast|
|Mushroom Coffee||3 x week|
|Bulletproof Coffee||3 x week|
|Biotin||1 capsule daily|
|Zinc||1 capsule daily|
|L-Tyrosin||1 capsule daily|
|Ubiquinol||1 capsule daily|
|Exogenous Ketones||2 scoops in a morning smoothie (case of deep work only)|
|Vegan Protein||3 scoops after workout|
|Matcha||1 cup daily around late afternoon|
|Collagen||2 scoops in a morning smoothie|
p. s. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get our articles in your inbox on a weekly basis. It is awesome, free, easy to unsubscribe and some great resources will wait for you once you confirm your subscription.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I use extensively. I never suggest or promote products I don’t approve.
Latest posts by Andrian Iliopoulos (see all)
- Dealing With the Absurdity of Reality – 7 Cardinal Life Principles - October 12, 2017
- In Praise of Indulgence – An Essay - September 19, 2017
- Developing Self-Awareness – The 5 Stages of Awareness Mastery - August 30, 2017